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UK seeks drive on SMB cybersecurity exports

Video conferencing in Westminster aimed at helping SMEs sell abroad.

By Jimmy Nicholls

The British government has opened a cybersecurity centre in London to help flog the sector’s wares to the global market.

Quartered in Westminster, the Cyber Demonstration Centre features "state of the art" visual facilities, including video conferencing and streaming provided by the networking firm Cisco.

David Roberts, manager at the Cyber Demonstration Centre, told CBR: "The cybersecurity industry felt that they weren’t able to market their products to customers, particularly overseas and also in this country.

"Small companies, particularly in the clusters based in the north and in the west, don’t always want to come to London."

At present UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the government’s exporting department, intends to use the building itself to help companies export by assembling audiences of potential customers in London.

However in the future the department wants businesses to be the main drivers of activity at the centre.

"In the long term we would like to see it predominantly used commercially by companies wanting to demonstrate their products to other people," Roberts said.

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Interested companies will be offered their first session at the centre free, and can explore the facilities at a number of open days.

Whilst the centre itself will not provide presentation or marketing guidance to firms, UKTI will be providing such advice separately.

Ruth Davis, head of cyber, justice and emergency services at lobby group techUK, said: "The Cyber Demonstration Centre is part of a continued drive to make the UK a world leader in cybersecurity and will be the ideal place to demonstrate and showcase the breadth, depth and quality of the UK offer on cyber security.

"Recent figures show that UK cyber exports have increased 15% in the last 12 months. To maintain this growth, it’s vital that government, industry and academia continue to work together through initiatives like the Cyber Growth Partnership to support the UK’s vibrant cybersecurity sector."

The opening follows swiftly after the government’s launch of a £1m grants scheme intended to help small and medium business in the UK improve their cybersecurity practices.

Working with Inspired Careers, the government is also hoping to attract more people to the cybersecurity sector through a jobs hub, which will provide advice and information on how to start a career in the field.

The UK’s cybersecurity sector includes more than 2,000 firms, most of which are small or medium in size, according to government figures, with an estimated 40,000 being employed in the sector.

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